Ottawa - Last week Member of Parliament for Brampton-Springdale, Dr. Ruby Dhalla questioned the Government’s commitment to helping the vulnerable and minority communities with its decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census. Government documents have revealed that more than 50 Federal Government agencies and departments rely on data from the long form census to develop programs and policies for ethnic communities, disabled, visible minorities, seniors and the vulnerable.
The information was revealed in the Government’s answer to an order paper question requested by Dhalla. The documents provided by the Government showed more than 700 different clients bought reports or data based on the 2006 census, including 297 government bodies from all levels, 232 businesses, 66 non-profit organizations, 54 health and social service agencies and 62 educational institutions.
“The data collected in the long-form census is vital for all Canadians. This data is used by cities and many government agencies and departments to develop programs related to essential services for Canadians such as transit routes, health status reports and infrastructure planning. Without this information Canadians, especially ethnic communities will suffer” said Dhalla.
In June the Conservative Government killed the long-form census and announced it was replacing it with a voluntary Survey. However, research has shown that a voluntary survey will not be a true representation of the demographics of the population.
On Friday Dhalla rose in the House of Commons during Question Period to raise the concerns of her constituents asking: “We learned that over 700 different clients and over 50 federal government agencies have all bought reports to develop policies to deliver programs to help aboriginals, visible minorities, the disabled, seniors, women and unemployed workers. There has been an outcry from across the country, including cities like Brampton and regions like Peel, to save the census. Why are they being ignored? Why are ethnic communities and minorities being abandoned and left to fend for themselves? Why is the Government ignoring the fact that the census is helping minority communities?”
Dhalla also joined the Mayor of Brampton and Chair of the Region of Peel in writing to the Minister of Industry to reconsider his decision to scrap the long-form census.
“As the demographic of our communities and country change we must ensure we have programs and policies in place that are reflective of the needs of its people. The information obtained in the census is vital to achieving this goal” said Dhalla.